Anni Kiviniemi Trio: Eir

Finnish pianist leads bass and drums in eight moody, often angular originals, touching on jazz, classical, Norwegian and North African music


US-based Finnish pianist Anni Kiviniemi debuts her new trio on this set, which is named after her daughter, who was born just after it was recorded. That might explain the set’s sometimes intimate nature, pulling the listener in for the finer details while still presenting a bigger picture.

Kiviniemi also talks about gravitating towards the unknown in music, jumping to the piano to understand an unusual melody or bizarre chord she has just heard and does not recognise. That might also explain much of the bumpy, irregular feel of this interesting set, which is almost entirely improvised.

The eight compositions here are all hers, all introspective and intriguing. Some, such as Judy, have an edgy Brechtian cabaret feel to them, others, notably Gwendolyn and Mére, display a sweeter side, while Atoms is playful in its drum-led exuberance. But there can also be a dark edge to the music, notably on the ominous Arguably, with its arco bass solo and oddly tinkling piano accompaniment.

Kiviniemi is an angular, at times aggressive pianist, playing with a forceful urgency, matched well by the muscular drumming of Hans Hulbaekmo and the exploratory bass of Eero Tikkanen. But despite her dominance, what you hear is a collective trio that complement each other perfectly. This is a fine debut, and I look forward to hearing more from this pianist and her trio.

Tiu Dropar; Gwendolyn; Judy; Arguably; Atoms; Mére; Mengi; Choral (43.22)
Kiviniemi (p); Eero Tikkanen (b); Hans Hulbaekmo (d). Oslo, Norway, c. 2023.
We Jazz Records WJLP58